A 37-year-old man is currently enjoying what he believes to be a loving relationship with a 10-year-old videogame character. By that, I mean the character herself is supposed to be a ten-year-old girl. Carrying around a stuffed pillowcase depicting his fictional girlfriend, the man known only as Nisan once had a real girlfriend … she left him, unsurprisingly.
Nisan’s new “girlfriend” goes by the name of Nemutan, and she stars in the 2D PC game Da Capo. They first “met” at a comic book convention in Tokyo, where it was love at first sight. Nisan named himself after the nickname that Nemu gives her brother in the game (it literally means “big brother”), and now won’t accept any statement that argues the reality of his relationship.
“Of course she’s my girlfriend,” he says, when questioned. “I have real feelings for her.”
Nisan (who refuses to be called by whatever his real name is) knows that Nemu is not real, but he treats her like a proper lady all the same. He takes her out at weekends, sings karaoke with her, and takes photo booth pictures. He doesn’t take her to work, but has a spare pillow case with her likeness at the office, just in case he needs to work late. Apparently, “She’s great for falling asleep with on an office chair.”
This is a growing culture (read: concern) in Japan, where people indulge in fantasy relationships with fictional characters. Of course, just because more than one person that’s doing it, that doesn’t make it any less peculiar or frightening.
As for Nisan, he’s happy, and that’s the main thing: “When I die, I want to be buried with her in my arms,” he explains. That’s romantic.